I felt stuck. I put my head down on my desk and sighed, then cried. The tears came pouring out. Life felt so much harder than it should be. My family was doing ok. They were healthy, but we were only breaking even. I wanted to earn more money, but it was so hard. My business wasn’t thriving. I was only surviving.
It was at this time I partnered with a friend in his business, but that was rough, too. We clashed a lot. I remember one day he called me a f***ing a****le. I was shocked. I thought we were doing well and making all the right moves, and then he exploded on me.
I was pushing up on 40 and not earning a lot of money and the money I earned was going back into building the business. I felt this social pressure to be earning more money and saving it for my family’s future. I also didn’t want to work for someone else the rest of my life. This inner struggle caused many sleepless nights.
Fear was driving my choices. This was a terrible approach. I stayed at jobs too long based on fear. I didn’t invest my money out of fear of losing it. I couldn’t see the opportunities.
I decided to take a different approach. I was going to be grateful for the money I did have. Every night I wrote down what I was grateful for. If I earned money, I wrote why I was grateful for it. I began to open my outlook to not just growing my business but also to seeing other ways to earn money. I talked to friends about what they did. One friend who worked in the same industry as me updated her LinkedIn profile and landed a corporate contracting position. I applied that same techniques to my profile.
That’s when a headhunter called me to work for a Fortune 100 company to work in their design department. It was exactly what I needed to help me get ahead. I would quadruple my yearly income in one swoop. Fast forward four years, and I have solid savings and an investment portfolio. Getting my mindset in the right place helped me build the confidence to achieve many of my dreams.
This is what many people don’t share with you. They tell you all the tactics about how to earn money, but not how to get your mindset in the right place.
Your mindset is your number one blocker to earning more money.
It was no coincidence that once I had a gratitude routine around money I was able to shift from fear into an abundance outlook. By focusing on being grateful for what I had, I noticed that more opportunities began to pop up because I was more open to them. I adjusted my focus to be more grateful for what I had, and more money came into my life. This won’t be easy. It’s especially hard to shift your mindset when you aren’t earning a lot of money. It’s important to explain that people who earn a lot of money can also have poor relationships with money. They let money dictate their decisions instead of making choices based on what is healthy for their long-term happiness. If you make $300,000 a year, but you buy a yacht for $900,000 then you’ll be in debt for a long time. You have many other bills and now you are adding another large bill to pay each month. When you are able to appreciate the things you do have you start to need less things to make you happy. I currently drive a five year old minivan. I could afford an SUV, but my payments are almost done and I’m going to drive it for as long as I can so I don’t have a car payment. This frees up money for me to spend in training materials, other investments and smaller priced fun things.
Changing your focus starts with looking at all the wonderful things you have in your life. When you notice the good things you have, it gets easier to see opportunities you were afraid to act on or didn’t even notice before.
Do you remember the first check or substantial amount of money you ever received? I remember my first paycheck working at K-mart. This was before direct deposit. I remember looking at that check and thanking my lucky stars for that $125. I made $4.25 an hour. I was 16 and the happiest kid alive. I didn’t have a lot of bills. Gas and food money was all I needed.
The celebration was off the charts. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to have this extra money. I remember I wanted to work more hours. My next paycheck was almost $209. I worked hard and made more money come into my life.
When was the last time you looked at money coming in and thanked it for helping you live a happier and healthier life? I’m guessing it’s been a long time. We need to remember to celebrate our good fortune because it helps us build on our hard work. When we celebrate we encourage ourselves to keep at it. When we take money for granted, we stop going after it.
You have to focus on enjoying the money that comes in so you can build a healthier and joyful relationship with money. When you take the time to appreciate it, you become less scared of what it takes to make more money. You try other ways until you find the right combination that works for you.
First, you change your focus on earning more money by being grateful for the money you already have. Then the next step is looking for opportunities that have been there, but you’ve been too afraid to pursue or didn’t think were possible.
Anything is possible if you are willing to work for it.
I was able to land a job with a Fortune 100 company because I was open to the idea of trying something new. I still continue to work on my side business at night and on the weekends. I do it because helping people with their mindset is a very fulfilling side hustle. I have big plans and I keep experimenting with different ways to earn money and the more I try the more money comes into my life. I take on new responsibilities and networking with people. I’ve offered my services to nonprofits for free which has helped land new clients. This growth mindset helps me prepare for new opportunities.
My practice has helped me appreciate my inner bully and stop letting him hold me back. I’m finally able to look at my life from a place of positivity and opportunities. Without my daily practice of being grateful for money coming in and looking for opportunities to earn more money, I would still be struggling with money. Now I’m building up my community and my coaching business on the side while I keep growing and learning at my day job. The extra money helps my family and helps me understand what works and what doesn’t. My goal is to continue to work in my fifties, sixties, seventies and eighties, but not need the money. I just want to make a positive impact in people’s lives. That’s why I work as hard as I do. I know that helping people create a resilient mindset will change their lives, because it has changed mine in so many ways.
Now I look at money as a tool to help me make a bigger impact in people’s lives. I’m not perfect and I need to do a better job of investing in myself, but I feel very abundant and joyful about money. I don’t fear not having it because I know I can earn more. It’s this mindset shift that you need to look for inside yourself. The most interesting part about helping people outside of my day job is the growth that has occurred. I have to find new ways to communicate my message, which has helped with my writing and speaking. I recently did a free class to help out our community during these tough times. I’m pushing outside my comfort zone because it opens up new possibilities that I wouldn’t have seen before.
“Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.” - Ayn Rand
I would like you to try keeping a Money Gratitude journal for the next 30 days because it all starts with your mindset. Make a little time every day to write down how money has helped you live a better life. When you earn money, write down how you earned it and how it makes you feel. This small daily celebration around money will help you start to shift how you look at money and how you can earn more of it.
Then start to think about different skills and ideas you can use to earn more money. You have to think of yourself as an idea machine. Each idea can help someone, earn you more money or build up your self-knowledge. The more ideas you have, the more you can test and see what works and what doesn’t. I coach people around shifting their mindset to help them earn more money, live a more joyful life and find opportunities that they weren’t able to see before. If you are interested in working with me you can learn more here.
Remember you need money, but it's only a tool to help you. True joy comes from within. There are unhappy billionaires just like there are unhappy poor people who struggle with money because they haven’t put in the deep work to understand themselves and make choices based on their core values. Money helps, but it’s your mindset that determines how good of a life you lead.
Photo by Kirill Balobanov